03/08/2010

Derry Barracks Blasted Overnight

A bomb blast has devastated the area round a Londonderry police station.

The PSNI said two men, one armed with a gun, hijacked a taxi driver shortly before 3am this morning and that the bomb was loaded into his car after which he was forced to drive to the police station.

Officers are understood to have been evacuating the area around the Strand Road barracks when the device exploded.

Damage was caused to the heavily fortified station, plus surrounding buildings including a nursing home and apartments.

Derry, home of the Deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, was recently named as the agreed UK City of Culture 2013.

Speaking of the accolade, Mr McGuinness said that "it was a fitting tribute to such a historic, important and vibrant city" while the DUP leader, First Minister, Peter Robinson said: "It will be good not only for Londonderry and the North West but for the whole of Northern Ireland."

NI Policing Board Acting Chairman Brian Rea has condemned the bomb attack on Strand Road police station.

Mr Rea said: "Once again, these are the actions of people who have no regard for human life and are only interested in causing maximum disruption and devastation to our community.

"Innocent civilians and police officers doing their jobs were put at serious risk from this attack, property was damaged and nothing was achieved.
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"I have no doubt that the whole community in the city and afar will completely condemn this destructive and murderous attack.

"I would encourage anyone with any information to bring it to the attention of the police so those responsible can be caught," he said.

The Stormont Justice Minister David Ford has also condemned last night's car bomb attack on Strand Road Police Station. "This is once again a reminder that those who carried out this mindless attack have no regard for human life. I commend the bravery of those police officers who risked their lives in trying to warn those in the vicinity of the attack.

"The way in which people came together to secure the City of Culture for Derry/Londonderry demonstrates the true spirit of the City and I am confident that they will not be distracted from the important task of continuing to build a bright and vibrant future for the area," he said, urging anyone with information to bring it to the attention of the police.

Meanwhile, police are also investigating reports of an explosion at Brownlow police station in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

A statement said that a noise consistent with what might have been a blast bomb exploding at Brownlow Police Station was heard in the area on Tuesday morning.

The PSNI said enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances.

No damages or injuries have been reported at this stage.

See: United Backing For Londonderry Culture Bid

(BMcC/GK)

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